Profiting from poor Customer Service

In a couple recent postings, I outlined where VERIZON dropped the ball in profiting from COMCAST’s poor Customer Service. But that does not mean your business cannot profit from a competitor’s poor Customer Service.

As some of you know, I work part time in the Tasting Room of a couple nearby wineries. The goal is to sell wine to people coming in to taste our wares. But that is NOT what I am selling. What I am selling is the EXPERIENCE of visiting a vineyard and attached winery. Being near a large metropolitan area, we encourage visitors to come and spend some time, bring a picnic and relax. For many, it becomes a mini-vacation or respite from their daily lives. The quality of the product is a big draw for many, but repeat business also rests largely on the treatment the customer receives. Did he or she have a good time or were they treated poorly?

Sadly, some of our competitors do not understand that concept. They believe the goal is to sell wine and the higher the sales, the better. They hurry through a tasting, pushing the customer into buying without taking the time to discover the customer’s tastes (which is vital to understanding the world of wines). The response we receive when we take the time to educate and interact with customers has paid off over the long run, as sales are strong and people come back to buy more wine and take some time off.

Two nearby wineries justly earned a reputation over the years for producing high quality wines, becoming magnets from people want to experience quality. How they responded to the influx of new customers was eye-opening.

In one case, the original owners decided to retire and hand the winery over to their sons. One son decided he would prefer to become a physician and left the winery to his brother, who promptly ran the operation into the ground. A winery that was once lauded for its quality wines and wonderful tasting experience rapidly declined. Attention to the product lapsed and customers were told how lucky they were to be able to experience the opportunity of visiting the winery, regardless of the quality of the wine. As more and more people stopped coming, revenues dropped and more things went undone around the winery. Today, it’s closed and run down.

In the other case, the owner decided he did not like the quality of the people coming by the busload to taste his wines. As a result, busses were banned. Customers were allowed in to taste wines and pushed to buy wines. Want to walk out onto the enclosed porch and enjoy the picnic you brought with you? Sorry, that’s not allowed. The customer must get on a list to be allowed on the porch (with its spectacular view). To get on the list, the customer must purchase a certain amount of wine. Luckily, the wines are good, so people still come. But do they enjoy their experience?

How do these examples compare with other firms/organizations you know?

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About battlefieldtelecom

I'm an experience trainer and customer service consultant who has worked extensively in the high tech, telecom and call center arenas around the world.
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One Response to Profiting from poor Customer Service

  1. Jamie Gorman says:

    When I was in telecomm sales and choosing wines for the table, I would definitely look for the labels I had visited. Most restaurants have already made pretty good wine choices, but when I had a story about a particular wine or winery, it made the difference.

    Thanks Steve.

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